Editorial: Sodexo — Hear no evil, speak no evil
The Journal has used much of the Opinion section to discuss Delegate’s Agenda issues in the past few weeks.
While we are here again discussing dining, an issue presented to President Stroble last week, we want to make it clear that this editorial has no connection to the student concerns presented at Delegates Agenda other than the company, Sodexo.
Yes, that company which provides Webster University students with a snack before night class or a hot home-style dinner. Our university, along with hundreds of other institutions worldwide, contracts with Sodexo to provide on-campus dining and catering. College students rejoice for the juicy chicken strips and the fresh fruit cups.
Unfortunately, Sodexo doesn’t have the strongest human rights rap sheet. The company was the center of a national campaign called Clean Up Sodexo less than a year ago. The campaign, whose website no longer exists, called for not only healthier dining options (sound familiar, Webster?) but also sought better practices for Sodexo employees.
Students at Tulane University in Louisiana have taken a stand for Sodexo workers, who provide a vital service for the university and contribute to the campus environment. Employees of Sodexo at Tulane sought to unionize last year, and were denied.
The company, based out of France, has a history of padding its union statistics by including European employees, many of who are required by laws in their country to be part of a union. This is a clever move on Sodexo’s part, as it paints the company in a better light than it actually deserves.
The Journal has no idea of Sodexo employees at Webster wish to unionize. But we do know that getting in contact with any food services worker employed by Sodexo is difficult. Interviews and even photographs of employees must be cleared through a specific Sodexo chain-of-command.
The director of food services requires The Journal to clear all direct quotes made by his workers, and we are not allowed to publish a photo of a Sodexo employee wearing company uniform. These restrictions prevent The Journal from bringing the full story to our readers, and keeps Sodexo employees handcuffed to policies they may not agree with.
These restrictions were felt most recently when The Journal sought to bring light to a Sodexo employee who won an award from Webster.
We can only imagine the flaming hoops that would exist for a less positive story.
Webster has a proud history of putting human rights first and being on the cutting-edge of social justice issues — we hope that Sodexo soon joins us, or we might even see concerns with their contract here at a Delegate’s Agenda in the not-so-distant future.